News Abortion

Rhode Island “Planned Parenthood Didn’t Help Me!” Forced Ultrasound Bill To Be Debated In The House

Robin Marty

The House judiciary committee will decide whether or not to move the bill onto the floor for a vote.

Forced ultrasound bills have seen their popularity wane since the Pennsylvania and Idaho debacles, but Rhode Island appears determined to at least give theirs a fighting chance.

The House Judiciary Committee will review a forced ultrasound bill, which would “require abortion providers to display and explain the images prior to an abortion,” although women will get to decide whether they want to look at the display or not.

The bill was introduced by Democratic Rep. Karen MacBeth, who has repeatedly sponsored a similar bill because she claims she was “let down” by Planned Parenthood when she went there as a single pregnant woman looking for resources to raise her child. “I saw Planned Parenthood, and I thought it helped you plan your parenthood.”

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News Politics

Trump: Planned Parenthood Does ‘Very Good Work,’ But Should Be Defunded Anyway

Ally Boguhn

Donald Trump has repeatedly promised to defund Planned Parenthood even as he admits that the organization provides services, such as cancer screenings, that wouldn’t be easily covered by other clinics in its absence.

Donald Trump has repeatedly promised to defund Planned Parenthood even as he admits that the organization does “very good work,” such as cancer screenings, that wouldn’t be easily covered by other providers in its absence.

“I have many, many friends who are women who understand Planned Parenthood better than you or I will ever understand it,” Trump told host Chuck Todd during a February 21 interview on NBC’s Meet the Press. “And they [at the organization] do some very good work. Cervical cancer, lots of women’s issue[s], women’s health issues are taken care of.”

The Republican presidential candidate went on to declare that he nevertheless does not support continued federal funding for the organization. “Planned Parenthood does a really good job at a lot of different areas. But not on abortion—so I’m not going to fund it if it’s doing the abortion.”

Trump struck an almost identical tone in a Thursday interview with Christian Broadcasting Network’s The Brody File, similarly noting that he would defund Planned Parenthood, although they “do cervical cancer work. They do a lot of good things for women.”

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“As long as they’re involved with abortion, as far as I’m concerned, forget it … I wouldn’t fund them regardless. But they do do other good work. You look at cervical cancer. I’ve had women tell me they do some excellent work, so I think you also have to put that into account but I would defund Planned Parenthood because of their view and the fact of their work on abortion,” Trump said.

Host David Brody claimed that there were other organizations who could provide the scope of services that would be eliminated, should Planned Parenthood lose funding—despite experts who say community clinics would not be able to fully fill that gap in coverage and evidence from Texas that this strategy has failed. In response, Trump pointed out the scale of work the reproductive health organization provides.

“That’s right, but they do a big job. There are a lot of women who are taken care of by Planned Parenthood,” Trump said.

The cognitive dissonance displayed by Trump when it comes to Planned Parenthood is nothing new. The Republican candidate has consistently demonstrated a disconnect between what he deems to be the important services provided by Planned Parenthood and his assertions that the organization should be defunded. The Hyde Amendment bans most federal funding for abortions. Nonetheless, Trump has spent months pointing to what he has called the “good aspects” of Planned Parenthood’s work

The discrepancy between these two talking points has led many conservatives, including rival presidential candidate Ted Cruz, to question whether Trump is truly anti-choice.

Cruz recently launched an ad attacking Trump’s shifting stance on abortion rights, using the candidate’s past “pro-choice” position to suggest that Trump cannot be trusted to appoint a new Supreme Court justice.   

News Law and Policy

Planned Parenthood Smear Campaign Prompts Arizona Anti-Choice Efforts

Nicole Knight Shine

Arizona Republicans are pushing measures to outlaw fetal tissue donation and ban state employee contributions to abortion providers.

Arizona’s Republican lawmakers pushed forward a spate of anti-choice bills this week, including measures to outlaw fetal tissue donation and ban state employee contributions to abortion providers.

A bill introduced by state Sen. Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix) states, “a person may not knowingly sell, transfer, distribute, give away, accept, use or attempt to use any human fetus or embryo or any part, organ or fluid of the human fetus or embryo resulting from an abortion.”

Jodi Liggett, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood Arizona, Inc., said she wasn’t aware of a single Arizona abortion provider that participates in fetal tissue donation.

“The motive behind this bill, from our perspective, is to simply recycle the same allegations and gruesome images from the fraudulent, doctored videos published by [the Center for Medical Progress],” Liggett said in an email to Rewire. “This is a cheap, theatrical attempt to shock the public and gain traction in the battle to end legal abortion. That’s the real aim here.”

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A separate measure, advanced by Republican Senate President Andy Biggs of Gilbert, bans state employee donations via payroll deductions to abortion providers, enshrining into law a move by the state’s GOP governor eliminating Planned Parenthood from a list of state-approved charities.

Planned Parenthood officials said they raised $40,000 in five days from supporters following the governor’s decision—an amount that dwarfs the $7,000 in annual state employee contributions.

Both SB 1474 and SB 1485 are likely to gain traction in Arizona’s Republican-controlled house and senate.

Bills outlawing fetal tissue donation have sprung up in GOP-majority legislatures around the country after doctored smear videos released by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) purported to show Planned Parenthood employees participating in the illegal sale of fetal tissue. CMP’s ringleaders now face indictments, and Republican-led investigations in 11 states have failed to find wrongdoing on the part of Planned Parenthood.

Only 1 percent of Planned Parenthood’s nearly 700 heath-care facilities nationwide facilitate fetal tissue donation, the organization’s president Cecile Richards said in an October 2015 letter to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Cathi Herrod, president of the anti-choice policy group Center for Arizona Policy, told the Associated Press that Planned Parenthood should have “no issue” with the fetal tissue bill.

Republicans advanced a flurry of abortion rights restrictions ahead of Monday’s state senate filing deadline, but reported threats to defund Planned Parenthood failed to materialize.

Biggs, the state senate president, told reporters in December that he’d draft legislation to strip Planned Parenthood of Medicaid money, but has not introduced a bill to do so.

Other bills, such as SB 1324, introduced last week, would restrict pill-induced abortions to patients who are up to seven weeks pregnant, rather than the medically accepted stage of nine weeks pregnant.